GGMC money for social events could have been spent on poor children

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) said there was no wrongdoing by the board Chairman when he racked up a multi-million dollar food and drinks bill at the agency’s expense. What’s wrong with the GGMC spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars on food and drinks? What’s wrong with the board not seeing anything wrong with it?

Those millions could have been used to give a child in the hinterland clean drinking water, or save the lives of many poor sons and daughters. The money could have been used to help a child out of poverty and into the university.

There are many things multi-million dollars can do to help a child, including helping provide nutritional meals and better health, childhood development and education.

The money could have been used to help the poor children in one school in Region One, who are fed a nutrition-less meal with plenty of rice, few vegetables and no meat. And as a result of the lack of proper nutrition, they have a difficult time concentrating in school. A child’s physical health and brain development depend on access to nutritious food, especially in the earliest years of life. Hunger and malnutrition have devastating consequences for children.

Children with malnutrition lack the nutrients necessary for their bodies to grow and stay healthy, and they are more likely to get sick; in very severe cases, they may even die. Children who are chronically malnourished don’t grow as tall as they should (a condition referred to as stunted growth) and are underweight as well.

Some of the children in the hinterland go to school without shoes because they can’t even afford to buy slippers. They have to walk a long way to get to school in hot sand and muddy water. The money could have been used to buy new shoes.

The spending of this money bothered me because growing up, I was just that child who suffered greatly because of poverty. I was that child who didn’t get proper nutrition. I was that child who was malnourished. I was that child who didn’t have shoes. I was that child who didn’t get food and it affected my physical health and brain development. I was that child who didn’t grow as tall as I should have done, and I was underweight as well.

Guyana, after five decades of independence, continues to struggle and will continue to struggle with economic development, because it doesn’t take care of the poorest children. And any country that doesn’t provide for the poorest of the poor will not prosper.

Editor, there should be no hungry people—especially no hungry children—in any community in Guyana when people can afford to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on food and drinks for social events. Our poor children deserve better.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz

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